Is it a Golf Cart or something else entirely?

NEV or LSV or something else?

So what is this vehicle named? You know, the one that carries golf bags and drives around on a green landscape in search of a tiny white ball that is slightly larger than the diameter of a quarter. What is interesting to know is that most of the population in the US refers to them simply as Golf Carts. However, in its purest definition, a Golf Cart is a golf bag holder with wheels that does not have a self-propelled engine. Take it a step further to those in the industry of manufacturing and distributing these vehicles and they will call them golf cars 24 hours a day.

It is such a small variation on the word, and almost contains a contrast to those that say pop and others who say soda. This is all fine and good, however, what happens when what we call a golf car is driving next to a 2015 Ford F-150? Now, some communities may have golfers en route to the golf course, but what about the remainder of people who are using the vehicle to get around? It seems the confusion behind nomenclature surrounding golf carts or golf cars are endless.

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For so called golf carts that are driving on the street, the government has taken the step to call them Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs). That’s great and all, but then some states decided to call the same government classification a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). Now, I do not know about you, but I am thoroughly confused. And I’m the one who has been in the industry for over 6 years! It almost feels like for each year I am in the industry, I learn another way to name what I know as a golf car.

When we hop across the Pacific ocean, the entire name of Golf Car is thrown out the window and we embrace entirely new names. We go from Small Electric Vehicle (SEV) to Low-speed Electric Vehicle (LEV). So at this point in the mess of naming conventions, we have come to 6 separate ways to name one of these vehicles. Maybe it is time we petition for a unified front to classify this vehicle within the industry? What would be the fun in that though?

This article is not aimed at a particular resolution except to make known the variety of ways we can identify a golf car, golf cart, LSV, NEV, SEV, and/or LEV. There are gas versions and electric version, and each can be classified among the likes of the UTVs like a Rhino or the luxurious Tesla. One thing is undoubtedly for sure, each decade has revealed new names for these vehicles. From my perspective, this means this vehicle segment will continue to evolve and may end up becoming more mainstream in our society than we probably never predicted. For instance, the Small Electric Vehicle sales worldwide outpace the sales of electric vehicles in the US presently. With such a fragmented nomenclature, this is an impressive statistic.